Golden Horn gets the right conditions, stars in Arc; Greenspointcrusader, Tonalist record big performances
By DICK POWELL
The Queen is dead! Long live the Queen!
Yes, TREVE (Motivator) was beaten on Sunday as she tried to make history with a third straight win in the Prix de L’Arc de Triomphe (G1) at Longchamp Racecourse in Paris.
With sunny and warm weather for the entire week, the ground firmed up which meant Treve would not be racing under her optional conditions. And, it meant GOLDEN HORN (Cape Cross) would contest the race since trainer John Gosden said he would not run over soft ground.
Under a brilliant ride from Frankie Dettori, who was earning a record-tying fourth win in the Arc, Golden Horn was kept on the outside of the long straight out of the gate to keep him relaxed. He made his way over to the inside and took up the running in second-place behind SHAHAH (Motivator), who was acting as Treve’s pacemaker.
Frankie made his move after the field straightened away and seized the advantage. There was a host of challengers all over the track but none could make up the needed ground and Golden Horn held on to win by two lengths over FLINTSHIRE (Dansili) who was coming off a spectacular win in the Sword Dancer (G1) at Saratoga in his last start.
Treve finished a nose behind NEW BAY (Dubawi) in fourth and it was announced an hour after the race she would be retired. She had every chance in the stretch when produced on the outside for clear running but could not make up enough ground on the speed-favoring turf.
Golden Horn’s owner indicated he wants to run in the Breeders’ Cup Turf (G1) four weeks later. What will be interesting is the course condition given the Turf takes place at Keeneland where the ground could be anything but firm at the end of October. No Arc winner has ever captured the Turf but if it comes up firm, watch out. If the Breeders’ Cup were run at Santa Anita, like it was the last three years and will be in 2016, Golden Horn would certainly get conditions he loves.
Flintshire’s stablemate, New Bay, will be retired to stud, Juddmonte Farms’ racing manager Teddy Grimthorpe indicated a few days after the Arc. Too bad since I felt he ran a sensational race and did the best of all the horses that did not automatically benefit from the firm ground. With a good chance of a soft course at Keeneland, New Bay would have probably been my pick for the Turf.
You can bet a lot of races and not find a better opportunity than APPEALING TALE (Tale of the Cat) in the Kelso Handicap (G2) at Belmont going a mile on a sloppy track. Dismissed at 66-to-10 as the bettors made HONOR CODE (A.P. Indy) the 3-to-5 favorite, Appealing Tale made an easy lead after a stuttering start and cruised through a first quarter of 23.50 and a half-mile in 46.35 on a very sloppy track.
The gelding not only had the lead but was allowed to set an uncontested pace. Under a heady ride from Joe Talamo, Appealing Tale opened up nearing the furlong pole and had the race in command. Honor Code broke better than normal, dropped back, then came on again on the far outside without threatening the winner to finish third.
Appealing Tale and runner-up RED VINE (Candy Ride) will go to the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile (G1) and Honor Code is still being pointed for the Classic (G1). It looks like Woodward Stakes (G1) winner LIAM’S MAP (Unbridled’s Song) will skip the Classic in favor of the Dirt Mile and PRIVATE ZONE (Macho Uno) will bypass the Dirt Mile to contest the Sprint (G1).
The New York 2YOs might be a bit below par this year but the Champagne Stakes (G1) unveiled GREENPOINTCRUSADER (Bernardini) as a star of his crop when he swept to a 4 ½-length win over the sloppy track. His seven-furlong maiden victory at Saratoga was terrific and the rain-soaked track played well for the half-brother of slop monsters JUSTIN PHILIP (G1) and KEYED ENTRY (G2). Considering the nature of the Belmont racing strip on Saturday, it was a big performance.
The Jockey Club Gold Cup (G1) only attracted six starters even with its $1 million purse and TONALIST (Tapit) looked to have them at his mercy. The winner of four of six starts on the Belmont main track including the Peter Pan (G2) on a sloppy track, the Belmont Stakes (G1) and last year’s Gold Cup, he raced a bit closer to the pace and dominated in the stretch to win by almost five lengths over Wicked Strong.
Going 10 furlongs, Tonalist will merit attention in the Classic but his chances were not helped by the defection of the speedy Liam’s Map. The good news is that he is a classic winner in good form at the right time of year. We’ll have to see how he comes out of the Gold Cup since horses that just raced over a very sloppy track can run down.
I am not turned off by the fact that Tonalist wore front-leg bandages in the Gold Cup. In fact, they should be viewed positively since it kept him from running down. Now, if he shows up in the Classic wearing them on a dry track, that’s something completely different.